How IT Security Knowledge Can Be an Advantage for Healthcare Technology Marketing

Andrew Moravick

Why IT Security and cybersecurity are such a critical components of any general healthcare operational conversation is pretty clear. Editor-in-chief of Healthcare IT News, Tom Sullivan notes, “Healthcare is hit harder with cyberattacks than any other industry.”

Breaches in security at healthcare organizations don’t just hurt the finances / operations of the target organizations. They can hurt past, present, and even future patients by leaking private records, disrupting active medical procedures, or even making patients think twice about getting the help they may need from a provider they’re more hesitant to trust.  

Modern healthcare needs modern cybersecurity and overall information security.

Why, though, should marketing professionals in the healthcare information and technology space learn to speak in security terms? Here are a few key insights on the kinds of advantages marketers can gain:

Establishing a Foundation of Credibility: Effectively Navigating Healthcare & Security Expectations

In our post, Credibility is Everything in Marketing for Healthcare & IT Security: Why Marketers Can’t Afford to Cry Wolf, we provide a bit of a cautionary tale to help ensure marketers are ready to handle the higher expectations and higher consequences around healthcare and security topics.

With adequate preparation, research, partnerships / collaborations with experts, and other means of assuring accuracy and value in the space, however, you can effectively address topics that consistently capture the attention of customers and prospects. It’s a higher level of difficulty, that’s for certain, but if you can speak to security issues or best practices effectively, your audience will listen.

Effectively Navigating the Sophistication Arms Race Between Hackers and Security Teams:

Healthcare IT News reports that according to a Proofpoint cybersecurity study, email fraud attack attempts on healthcare organizations increased by 473% in 2018.  These attacks primarily exploited trusted domains, and nearly all of them relied on an email user to activate malicious code or volunteer data via a password or even a form-field submission that, in the hands of a hacker, could compromise an organization.

As a response, healthcare organizations are implementing more comprehensive and far-reaching email security solutions and training protocols. For marketers trying to engage via email, this means navigating an ongoing minefield of hacker-stopping security traps on one side, while avoiding hacker-like appeals and suspicious behaviors on the other side.

For marketers who understand security best practices, though, these lines become much easier to see and manage. Email security programs, for example, that auto-open emails to crawl links are easy to spot for security-savvy marketers. In such cases, unusually high open rates at specific accounts are an indication for caution and moderation in further engagements to avoid getting flagged as spam or suffering other sender-score reducing consequences.

With a refined security mindset, marketers can better accommodate security requirements, while also avoid the hacker-like behaviors security systems are designed to flag.

Expecting & Avoiding the Normally Unexpected Marketing & Security Issues:

Good marketing & good information security practices aren’t exactly two peas in the same pod. Marketing can, at times, be a source of security woes, and security can be a bit of a buzzkill for marketing. One thing that does make both marketers and security professionals effective, however, is the propensity to consume case studies, event reports, or general historic accounts and iterate on the principles at work for future efforts. Marketers devour articles on successful campaigns or strategies. Security professionals stay up to speed on breaches and threats. Both use what they learn to prepare and improve.

For security-minded marketers, though, the consumption of unexpected security issues can help avoid future security missteps. Take, for example, a recent case of a Facebook health information data violation. From a marketing perspective, Facebook’s offer to, be a place where people with similar health challenges can connect and support each other would seem like an excellent, value-add community.  As Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg put it, “If you’re diagnosed with a rare disease, you can join a group and connect with people with that condition all around the world so you're not alone.”

The problem, though, is by having a digital space where personal health data and contact data can easily be crawled, appended, or even allegedly re-sold, a whole security can of worms is opened. You can read the full article here, but here’s the key takeaway:

By recognizing the health data security principles that unexpectedly came into play around this seemingly value-oriented marketing story, Facebook, or any marketers in similar shoes, could avoid such costly missteps.

Ultimately, healthcare and healthcare technology depend on effective information security principles. The more heathcare marketers know about the security boundaries within which they must operate, the better they can iterate with out-of-the box stories and efforts that fuel both business results and meaningful healthcare technology conversations.  


At HIMSS Media, privacy and security coverage is a core topic for our Healthcare IT News, Healthcare Finance News, and Mobihealth News publications. Recently, we also announced a sponsorship agreement with RSA Conference 2019. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your brand’s voice around healthcare information and technology and security topics, contact us today!

About the Author

As a Senior Marketing Manager for HIMSS Media, Andrew Moravick leverages extensive B2B & B2C marketing experience to oversee and optimize HIMSS Media's content marketing and demand generation efforts. In previous roles, Andrew has worked for Aberdeen Group, Snap App, PUMA, and Eloqua.

More Content by Andrew Moravick